I've been trying for near forever (or at least it seems that way) to understand how people make the mini-movie icons that are rife and rampant throughout LJ. My biggest problem to date was getting the movie part of it, not really understanding the hows of it, like how does one get the clips from the video in question, in the snippet and so on, not to mention the later problem of how does one place an animated icon into a still one -AND- manage to make it small enough to get under the 40k limit that LJ imposes on icons.
Saturday afternoon I finally decided to take the bull by the horns and figure it out. I had a lead on how to get the clips, using a website that lets you re-download older versions of programs like PSP7.0 (that has Animation Shop bundled with it, a necessary evil) and PowerDVD6. I bought the latter program at one time and somewhere around here I have a CD of it, just haven't been able to locate it. Fortunately, my CD key still works so the trial version I got I was able to upgrade to the standard version I had a year or so ago (2 computers ago actually!) so I could screencap without having to worry about the program stopping on me.
I popped in one of the NCIS Season 4 DVDs, there was a scene that I wanted to capture a little snippet of. In the episode Friends & Lovers, Officer David is showing the 'kids' how to throw a knife correctly. Agent Lee has a rather humorous toss where instead of throwing it forward she lets it fly backwards, the knife slamming into a doorjamb just in front of SA Gibbs as he exits the elevator. Very funny little sequence of events and well worth animating, along with the look on his face as he hands the knife back to the embarrassed Agent Lee.
I cropped and edited the picture of the look on Gibbs' face as he handed the knife to Lee and used that as my base. According to a tutorial from crumblingwalls that was posted several years ago (the corresponding pictures no longer existed to assist unfortunately) I needed to make the base and copy it to Animation Shop, duplicate it enough times in a new animation so it would have the same number of frames of the animation I was about to create. Since I wasn't sure how many frames I was going to need, I started PowerDVD, went to the right time index and started to capture frames so that the sequence of the knife hitting the doorjamb was present, and Gibbs' reaction to it. I ended up with 40+ frames, which I knew was going to be too many, so I had to make a decision. What would be the fewest number of frames possible and -still- get the point across? I finally hit on the right sequence, and it ended up being around 25-26 frames in length. Next I copied them all to Animation Shop in their large form and was able to crop it down so that the screen credits were no longer present.
Now that I had the two major components, I had to find a way to marry them. The tutorial was for PSP7 and AS3, so I had to extrapolate that some things had changed in the interim between that version and the PSPX2 that I'm currently using. The tutorial said that I needed to have the base duplicated as many times as the frames in the animation I had made, then select all the frames, drag the first one to the second (new) animation. Well that didn't work. What did work (I actually stumbled upon the solution through trial and error) was selecting all the frames of the new animation, copying them, and pasting them into the second animation. Just had to make sure where I was pasting was the correct place and voila, it worked like a charm.
The finished product: